IRVINE ASSOCIATION OF UNITED BAPTISTS
CIRCULAR LETTER. 1880
PREPARED AND READ BY ELD. J. G. PARSON of
SOUTH FORK UNITED BAPTIST CHURCH
The subject which we address you at present is that of Prayer. Prayer is of Divine appointment, and is the breathing of the soul unto God the desires of the heart, by which we hold communion with God. Prayer appears to be not only a prtvilege, but a duty, confined to neither sect nor denomination; for says Paul: "I will that men pray, everywhere." 1st Timothy ii:28. It is also that by which we draw nigh unto God, and converse with Him by faith. Hence says the Apostle: "Let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith." Heb. x:22. Prayer is not merely the uttering of words, but it is the sincere desire of the heart; and faith is the vehicle through which it is conveyed to a Throne of Grace by the spirit of God, for says an inspired Apostle: "His good spirit helpeth our infirmities and maketh intercessions for us with groanings that can not be uttered." Romans viii:26. Prayer appears to have been practiced from the birth of Enos, the son of Seth. Genesis iv:26. And from that time throughout the different dispensations, we learn that prayer has been attended to by God's people; and in various instances we discover the effects of it, as in the case of Jonah, who prayed and was heard, or, the Canaanitish woman, who was heard in behalf of her danghter. Matt. xxi:28. Peter cried: "Lord, save me, or I perish" and was rescued from a watery grave. Now, brethren, we are not of the opinion that a mere outward form, or lip service is to be
accepted In the sight of God, for where the heart is not found the sacrifice is not accepted. We would not be understood as holding an idea that we can bring God under any obligations to us by our prayers; yet, we are His creatures and are dependent upon him, and he is a God who will be sought unto for all things by the House of Isreal [sic]. Prayer, then, is enjoined on all God's creatures. Now. brethren, think on the languid state of Zion. Does it not appear that something ought to be done? Shall the people of God sit down contented, and still look for the spirit of Ood to be poured out on the people? By no means. Do we not hear the Holy Spirit, by the month of the Prophet, saying: "Woe to them that are at ease in Zion!" Amos vi:l, which plainly shows that we have something to do; and we read again: "Pray ye the Lord of the harvest that He would send forth laborers into His harvest." Matt. ix:38. And for our encouragement, Jesus says: "If ye shall ask any thing in my name I will do it." Again: "If two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father," &c. Matt. xvii:19. But, brethren, the limits of a Circular would not contain our subject. We would, therefore, recommend and exhort that we be more zealously engaged in this all-important duty, seeing that we have so much need of help, and being conscious that all our help comes from God. Perhaps some are ready to say: "I can not pray," but we are apprehensive if they were truly sensible of their own salvation, and that of their fellow-mortals, their language would be as fervent as that of the Publican, who said: "God be merciful to me a sinner!" Now, brethren, were we all thus solemnly impressed, would we see so much languor in the world as it repects vital religion? We think not. But, on the contrary, we would see crowded assemblies attending the worship of God; Zion would be travailing and bringing forth and her gates would be crowded wilh young converts. Then let us be up and doing, for says Solomon: "By much slothfulness the building decayeth, and through idleness of hands the house droppeth through." Eccles. x:l8. Let us he more engaged in the solemn duty of prayer, as well as all the other duties which God hath enjoined upon us. Being thus exercised, we would enjoy more of the presence of God and the sweets of religion, That we should see numbers of our fellow-mortals closing with the overtures of mercy, and walking in the ways of holiness; we should not find so many obstacles in onr pilgrimage through this vale of sorrow. Therefore, brethren, let ns endeavor to arisP from nnr state of dead lethargy, and pray God to clothe us with zeal and fortitude to run the Christian race with patience, and to enclose our children, our neighbors and neighbors' children in the net of the Gospel, that we may see numerous households leaving the cares of the world behind them and pressing toward the Heavenly Jerusalem, to enter that rest which remaim for the people of God. And now, dear brethren, we commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to make you wise unto salvation; and may He prepare us all for a mansion in His kingdom above, is our prayer for His name's sake.
[From IRVINE ASSOCIATION OF UNITED BAPTISTS, 1880, pp. 7-8; via digital.library.sbts.edu - Adam Winters, Archivist. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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